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Duty-free shops in Jeju partially reopen following pandemic-caused suspension

All News 15:59 October 05, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's major duty-free operators partially reopened their stores on the southern resort island of Jeju on Monday after suspending operations for months over the new coronavirus outbreak.

Industry leader Lotte Duty Free and its rival Shinsegae Duty Free said they will resume the operations of the cosmetics and other sections of their shops in Jeju from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. during weekdays.

The two major duty-free companies have suspended their in-city shops in Jeju since June due to faltering sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers at the Lotte Duty Free store on the southern island of Jeju prepare to greet customers as the shop reopened partially on Oct. 5, 2020, following months of suspension over the virus outbreak. (Yonhap)

Lotte said it has decided to reopen its duty-free shop in a bid to seek ways to survive together with contractors facing business trouble caused by the pandemic.

Despite the partial resumption, Lotte may post a monthly loss of around 3 billion won (US$2.58 million) due to increased costs.

Duty-free shops in Jeju saw a boom in business due mainly to demand from foreign travelers, mostly from China, before the pandemic hit the country in late January.

Duty-free sales in South Korea rose for the fourth straight month in August on increased purchases by Chinese vendors, but revenues remained below the pre-pandemic level.

Chinese vendors have come back to South Korea to buy the bulk of duty-free products as domestic demand in China is reviving amid a slowdown in virus cases there.


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